Donald Trump’s latest tweets are outrageous and a wakeup call to anyone in the LGBT community who thought their rights were safe. Not only are they inaccurate, they also serve to demonise and ‘other’ trans people. With these statements, the President of the United States has sent a clear message - his administration will not treat trans people equally.
These latest comments come at a time when the UK government published plans to review the law on gender recognition.
This indicated there could be real progress and finally the invasive, medicalised tests that trans people have to go through currently would come to an end.
But this announcement was overshadowed by an outpouring of transphobia.
Commentators and anti-trans campaigners have been quick to respond and decry this much needed changed.
What was announced is a review of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act to ‘streamline and demedicalise’ it and make the law less intrusive. This was a simple commitment to supporting trans people through legally recognising our identities, nothing more and nothing less.
But this created an outpouring of hate – topped off by Trump’s tweets today.
It has been claimed that there is a difference between trans people who receive treatment for gender dysphoria, and those who do not. This is a clear misunderstanding of what it means to be trans.
Currently, the law requires a diagnosis of gender dysphoria before a recognition certificate will be issued.
But most trans people will never seek medical support so this is a degrading, and needless requirement. Your internal sense of self, your very identity, is not dependent upon medical diagnosis or treatment, whether you’re trans or not.
Trans people are being labelled, again, as ‘women with beards’, and our gender identity is being reduced to ‘a penis in the toilets’. Most telling about the attitudes of those attacking trans people over this government announcement, is that it has nothing to do with these issues. The government is committed to reviewing recognition.
It’s clear that trans people are becoming the targets of hate. The hate is not limited to people who campaign against LGBT equality. Trans people are subject to abuse from prominent public figures, commentators and, most tragically, members of the lesbian, gay and bi community. It is truly disheartening that we would face this kind of anger.
I am trans, and I am unable to obtain recognition of my gender identity simply because I refuse to be degraded. I refuse, like many trans people, to face a demeaning application process that demands I be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. For wanting a simple method of recognition, and for wanting respect for our identities, trans people are being attacked.
We need to change attitudes, and educate people – including the President of the United States. A change in the law is desperately needed, and it will help trans people in the UK, but we must also tackle the prejudice wherever it is.
We cannot continue to see hurtful transphobic comments in newspapers, on the radio and on our TV screens, or even from the Leader of the Free World.